The London Metropolitan Police announced this weekend that “vulnerable” people will be prioritized over other victims of crime when they call up emergency lines.
Speaking to the press, Met Police deputy commissioner Craig Mackey said that people who suffer from learning difficulties, the elderly, and people who speak English as a second language or not at all will be prioritized.
He told London’s Evening Standard that it was “absolutely feasible” that these victims would be visited by police, while others will be placed lesser priority, adding that personnel cuts made it necessary.
The number of police serving in the force dropped from 32,183 to 31,782 between September 2015 and September 2016. This year, that number fell even further to 31,517. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said that there are plans to cut £400m ($516m) over the next four years.
Mackey, the force’s second most senior officer, said that the force plans to assess its responses based on vulnerability and that it may “triage” crimes by deciding the order of treatment based on urgency, according to the BBC.
“Increasingly, as we go forward we will look at things like trying to assess people and crime on the sort of the threat, the harm, the risk, and people’s vulnerability,” he said.
“It’s absolutely feasible as we go forward that if my neighbor is a vulnerable elderly person who has experienced a particular type of crime, that she gets a face-to-face service that I don’t get,” he stated, citing people who speak English as a second language as one of the ways vulnerability can manifest itself.
“That’s about how we get those resources focused on the things you can make a difference with. But also as we go forward, as demand grows, you have to have a way of controlling and triaging,” he said.
Mackey said that victims of burglary would “probably always get a service,” but it wasn’t guaranteed. Other crimes, including “vehicle crimes” and “those sorts of things” might not get a face-to-face treatment with a police officer.